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November 4, 2010

Missouri Veterinarians Celebrate Victory for Dogs

Passage of Prop B ensures humane care of puppy mill dogs

Missouri veterinarians are joining with voters from throughout the state in celebrating the passage of Proposition B, a statewide ballot initiative to establish basic standards of care for dogs in large-scale commercial breeding facilities.

More than 150 individual Missouri veterinarians and veterinary clinics endorsed the measure prior to its passage. Proposition B was also supported by the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, in addition to many other animal welfare organizations including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, The Humane Society of the United States, the ASCPA and Best Friends Animal Society, as well as many Missouri businesses, religious leaders, elected officials and responsible breeders.

“I am proud to join with the citizens of Missouri in taking this important step forward to ensure the humane treatment of all dogs in puppy mills throughout our state,” said Dr. Connie Medling, a staff veterinarian with the Humane Society of Missouri who was also featured in a TV ad from the YES! on Prop B campaign. “Proposition B is a common-sense measure that gives our state the tools we need to protect against puppy mill abuse.”

Missouri has an estimated 3,000 puppy mills producing up to a million puppies per year. Missouri veterinarians who endorsed Proposition B reported treating rescued puppy mills dogs suffering with painful medical conditions such as rotten and infected teeth, mammary gland tumors, ear and skin diseases, overgrown toenails that had curled into foot pads, and coats matted so heavily that the animals could barely walk.

"Clearly the existing 18-year-old laws in our state were inadequate to prevent the widespread suffering we've seen in dogs rescued from these many breeding facilities in Missouri, the nation's largest dog breeding state," said Dr. C.B. Chastain, professor at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine College, and legendary mentor to hundreds of practicing Missouri veterinarians as an instructor of small animal medicine for 40 years. "Proposition B establishes reasonable standards and additional means of enforcement to ensure that the health and welfare of these animals are a priority in commercial breeding operations."

Proposition B was supported by nearly 1 million Missouri voters in the Nov. 2 election. The measure amends Missouri law to require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise; and adequate rest between breeding cycles. The measure also prohibits any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets and creates a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations.

The new law will take effect in November 2011, giving breeders time to meet these basic standards of humane care. More than 200 Missouri rescue organizations are ready and willing to take surrendered breeding dogs and find them loving homes.

For more information on the measure, please visit YESonPropB.com.

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The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) was formed as a home for veterinary professionals who want to join together to speak out for animals, engage in direct care programs for animals in need, and educate the public and others in the profession about animal welfare issues. The HSVMA is an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States.

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